In our rush to get new technology up and running quickly, it’s easy to skip settings that impact our privacy. Don’t make this mistake. Here’s a list of seven hiring tech companies you’d rather leave alone.
There are ordinary things we do every day that shorten the lifespan of our technology by months or even years. Tap or click five ways to ruin your expensive phone, laptop, tablet and TV.
Some gadgets are also security risks. Scan this list to make sure you and your family are safe.
1. Old phones lying in a drawer can cause a fire
YouTuber Arun Maini, who runs a popular channel called Mrwhosetheboss, has collected every Samsung flagship phone since 2010. He’s noticed a frightening pattern. The phone’s batteries swell enough to shatter the glass and shatter the cases.
It’s not just Samsung phones. Any device with a lithium-ion battery is susceptible to damage over time. A swollen battery is a serious problem that can cause fire, personal injury, and property damage.
Rummage through your drawers for your old phones and look for signs of battery swelling. If you see it, do the following:
Don’t try to charge a swollen phone. Charging a swollen battery can cause a fire or explosion.
If you have an older phone with an easily removable battery, carefully separate the battery from the case. If you have a newer phone, do not attempt to remove the battery yourself.
Place the bloated phone in a fireproof bag and contact the manufacturer. You may not be able to exchange or get something for an old model. However, at least ensure proper recycling or disposal.
When it comes to storing old phones, follow these rules of thumb:
Turn off the phone and place it in a cool, moisture-free place.
Charge the battery to 50% if you plan to store it for a long time. Check the battery about every six months and charge it halfway.
Servicing can go a long way in ensuring that you can continue to use your current phone for many years to come. Tap or click my simple guide to properly cleaning your iPhone or Android inside and out.
2. Outdated routers let hackers in
Your router does one big job: it connects all of your devices to the internet. If you are using a year old model, this task may not perform safely.
The latest security standard is WPA-3, which was released back in 2018. If your router is not WPA3 compatible, WPA2-PSK AES is the next most secure option. It’s a sign that you need to get a new router.
When it comes to buying a new router, there are three key factors. Consider the square footage and layout of your home, the number of internet-connected devices, and your internet speed. However, with so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right router.
Time and money savings: Whether you need to cover an apartment or mansion with a mesh system, we’ve got your back. Answer a few questions and we’ll select the best router for you. Take the 60 second quiz here for our handpicked recommendations.
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3. There are no more updates
Where there is an internet connection, hackers can wreak havoc. Security updates protect you from the latest tricks from cybercriminals, which is why it’s important to keep your smartphone, computer, and everything else up to date.
What happens when your gear stops receiving updates? It’s time for an upgrade. This is obvious with your phone and computer, but the same goes for smart speakers, security cameras, and anything else that uses your home network.
Here are a few more ways to protect yourself:
Check your network regularly to see which devices are online and connected. If you see something you don’t recognize, take action. Tap or click here to see how to check all devices on your Wi-Fi network.
Consider setting up a separate Wi-Fi network for your devices.
Always use strong, complex passwords that are not easy to guess. Tap or click here to create stronger passwords.
4. It’s on a recall list
It’s not just old equipment that you have to worry about. Some products make it into our homes with problems that can cause fires, injuries, and worse.
That US Commission on Consumer Product Safety regularly warns of dangerous products and advises you if you have a recalled item at home.
It’s worth checking their list regularly to see if you have anything that puts your family at risk. Sometimes you can get a replacement or refund for the recalled product. There you will also find information on how to contact the manufacturer.
On Komando.com we also write about important recalls of technical products. Receive our alerts straight to your inbox by signing up for my free scam and security alerts newsletter. You will not regret it!
5. Old power strips with wear and tear
Socket extensions and extension cords do a lot of work in our homes. Sometimes a power strip will short out and shut down your devices. If this happens, even for a few seconds, check the power strip for signs of damage. Look for signs of scorching around the outlets. These appear as rust-colored spots that you may be able to wipe off with your fingers.
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Even with no obvious signs of damage, old power strips can be dangerous. If you don’t know when you last replaced yours, add it to your shopping list.
There are many things you should do never connect to an extender. Tap or click here for 10 Dangerous Mistakes You May Be Making.
For more tech smarts, try my new daily podcast
My favorite podcast is called “Kim Komando todayIt’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and tech callers like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. Just click the link below to see an updated episode.
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If you can crack this riddle, you belong to the FBI. Maybe. Plus, smart speaker tricks for the holidays, Amazon now lets you pay with Venmo, Chrome is gone with Windows and browser extensions taking over your searches.
Check out my podcast Kim Komando Today Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotifyor your favorite podcast player.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name “Komando”.
What questions do you have about the digital lifestyle? Call Kim’s national radio show and Tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.
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Find out more about the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and shares advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletter and more, visit her website at Komando.com.